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Rolly: Bishop's lands bill has a hidden gift for Phil Lyman

Published August 11, 2016 10:30 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's Republican establishment just cannot accept the federal government protecting land from development and motorized traffic that would destroy precious habitat or artifacts.

So let's try a few idioms that would apply to the latest tactics of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop:

Perhaps, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."



Or, "There is more than one way to skin a cat."

Or even (as Bishop himself has put it), "If anyone likes the Antiquities Act, the way it is written, die."

Bishop, who heads the House Natural Resources Committee, has again spawned controversy with the recent unveiling of his Public Lands Initiative (PLI), a measure seen as an alternative to a proposed Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah.

Critics call the PLI a giveaway to developers that does too little to protect sensitive areas. They also complain that the bill's details were kept under wraps to discourage thorough discussion.

Then there is a little twist recently noticed in the measure that seems to be a cynical jab at the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency generally on the wrong end of Bishop's ire.

Buried on Page 183 is TITLE VIII. SEC. 816. RECAPTURE CANYON:

"(a) APPROVAL OF RIGHT-OF-WAY — San Juan County, Utah's application for a Title V Right-of-Way, originally submitted to the Bureau of Land Management Monticello Field Office in the State of Utah on March 30, 2006, and later amended on November 13, 2012, is approved."

Why is that significant? And sneaky?

You might recall the recent misdemeanor conviction in federal court of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman for arranging an illegal ATV ride in Recapture Canyon, which has been off-limits since 2007 to motorized vehicles to protect the fragile flora and American Indian artifacts in the area.

Many rural officials were outraged at the conviction, accelerating an ongoing feud between the feds and locals over public lands.

Legislators first attempted to steer taxpayer money toward a legal defense fund for Lyman. When that fizzled, the Legislature approved $250,000 for the Rural Utah Alliance, a nonprofit committed to rural issues, including a potential defense fund for the commissioner's appeals. The registered agent for the group is Lyman's attorney, Peter Stirba.

Now comes Bishop's entry, tucked deep in his federal lands bill, that would grant a right of way to San Juan County and allow the motorized vehicle use in Recapture Canyon that Lyman and other locals have long desired.

It also would stick it to the BLM.

Priorities, priorities • I wrote in June about David Sharette, a former state school board candidate in Salt Lake County's District 8 who is steeped in the charter school culture.

His mother, Carolyn Sharette, was one of the early founders of charter schools in Utah and now runs several.

His uncle, Howard Headlee, was also involved in establishing charters and now heads the state Charter School Board.

I mentioned David Sharette in a column because, reacting to President Barack Obama's order allowing students to use school restrooms of their gender identity, he wrote on Facebook: "If I see or hear about a man going into a restroom with my wife or daughter, I'll make sure he comes out a woman."

Well, sir, you lost in the primary — and that was six weeks ago. So get your head out of the restrooms and pick up your campaign signs scattered around the county. They're an eyesore.

Campaign lottery? • If in a few weeks Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announces he has raised tens of millions of dollars in small donations of $3 apiece, I have an idea of how that would be accomplished.

I recently received an email from Eric Trump, the candidate's son, offering me a sweet deal.

I'll get a free flight to New York, a private tour of the campaign's headquarters at Trump Tower, and lunch with Eric Trump to talk about making America great again.

I just have to contribute $3 to automatically enter the contest to win the prize. Isn't that illegal in Utah?

prolly@sltrib.com —

 

 

 

 

 

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